One crowded hour

G and I met and then married, in the space of about 14 weeks.

I’d known G for about 3 weeks and thought he was a “really nice guy” but “not my type” when we were both invited to a dinner party at a friends house. We were seated across from each other at the table and as the night went on, I became more and more enamored by him. I remember 3 distinct things about G that night.

  1. He asked if I was going to finish my lamb shanks and then proceeded to swap plates. Thirteen years later and he’s still doing this.
  2. When I asked where he thought he’d end up living, he said “I don’t mind, I think I’d like to travel for awhile. I know it sounds corny, but wouldn’t it be great to just be an ordinary person living an extraordinary life”
  3. I left the dinner party somehow knowing I would end up married to G. I just wasn’t sure how it was going to happen as he didn’t have my telephone number. 

Within a week I’d managed to organize running in to him again, once we were together that was it, we were inseparable. Three weeks later we were engaged. He got down on his knees in a nightclub and said “I’ve just realized I’m going to dance with you for the rest of my life”.

He had to go away on business and wrote me a 12 page letter from the airport terminal. He quoted Mordaunt.

“Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife, Throughout the sensual world proclaim, One crowded hour of glorious life, Is worth an age without a name.”

And then he wrote “I would take one glorious hour with you, rather than live without you”.

Quotes, dinners, presents, flowers – he was like something out of a movie. I was completely swept up in the whirlwind of G. One morning as I was showering for work he knocked on the door and said “you better hurry up, we have to be at the airport in 45 minutes, we’re going to Byron Bay”. I was mid shampoo.

“I can’t – I have to go to work”

There was a grin.

“I’ve spoken to them, it’s organized, c’mon hurry up!”

We stayed in a beautiful balinese style bed and breakfast across from the water, it was divine. It was all divine, the wedding, the tropical sex fest honeymoon, our first Christmas, deciding to move to Jakarta, finding out we were pregnant.

It was all shiny and new and then slowly the gloss started to fade. Reality didn’t just bite, it snapped ferociously. In a game of how much can you handle, we doubled up and bet high. The first baby, the second move, the second baby, the third move, the third baby, the fourth move and we’d just made it to our 5th wedding anniversary.

We were tired, I was pregnant for 196 years. G was working his arse off and at one stage traveling for about 70% of the year. We didn’t seem to be saving any money, we talked about budgets and fought over excel spreadsheets. We spent our weekends shopping in discount supermarkets. We drove the Little Travelers to the airport to watch the planes take off for entertainment, while we drank coffee from a thermos from home. It was not sexy.

I was driving with three little travelers in the snow, they were screaming in the car and G was in Paris. I stared at the ringing phone in the passengers seat and thought – I can’t pick it up because I hate your guts so much at the moment, if I talk to you, I might just tell you.

Two weeks later moments after I reversed our uninsured car in to a truck, I rang G at the office. I didn’t want to tell him. How do you explain a $3000 mishap when you’re living week to week?

When he began laughing, for a split second I thought this may have been the end. Maybe he’d actually started to go nuts. He couldn’t stop laughing, and then finally when he could speak he said “You have to laugh right? I mean it’s funny – no one’s hurt, it’s okay.”

He told me a story about his mother. How she’d driven through the garage door on the day that they were selling their home. I began to smile as he told me about the auctioneer having to explain it to all prospective buyers. And in that moment we were both laughing.

This morning I woke up to an empty bed. G had been up since 4 working on a presentation, he’d walked the dog and talked to a neighbour in Australia. “Happy Anniversary” he said as he passed me a familiar little pale green bag. And for about five minutes it was us – and then the Little Travelers arrived. Someone felt sick, someone wanted breakfast, someone couldn’t find their homework, someone wanted to wear their Christmas dress to school. “I have to go, I have to be in early this morning” and he was gone.

As I drove home from school I admired my new earrings in the rear view mirror and thought about a childless dinner tonight. I thought about the past 13 years, the times we’ve had to stand by each others side, listen to the same old stories and ignore the embellishments. The times where G has held my hand, the babies, the job interviews, the school concerts, the death of a friend.

An email came though, 4748 was the subject title. “Incase you were wondering, this is how many days we’ve been married”.

And this is why I’m still married to G.

Happy Anniversary – it’s been far from ordinary.

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